A recent Court of Appeal decision has highlighted the importance of employers identifying hazards in the workplace – even if the workplace is the worker’s home. Risks may include the physical environment (such as tripping, ergonomic or electrical hazards) but also the risk of a worker being injured in a domestic violence situation.
Are You Covered by Workers Compensation When Working From Home?
In Queensland, a worker is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if their employment was a significant contributing factor to the injury. If an employer knew, ought to have known or had suspicion of domestic violence towards a worker, then the employer has a duty to control that risk.
An employer must have a system in place to identify hazards in the workplace, including any remote workspace.
Many workers are now working from home. It seems in many organisations, the option of working from home may become permanent and we will see more flexible working arrangements in the future. This poses a significant risk to employers if they do not consider the workplace health and safety of their workers.
When Will Workers Compensation Cover Injuries When Working at Home?
As the employee, if you are performing a task or activity because of or to fulfil your employment and happen to sustain an injury whilst working from home, you will be entitled to workers compensation. If you are performing a task that is not relevant to your role that you are employed to do and sustain an injury whilst working from home, you will not be covered and will not be entitled for workers compensation. This will however depend on the circumstances of your case, and we recommend you get in touch with a compensation lawyer to determine if you have a viable claim.
What is an Example of Someone Getting Workers Compensation from an Injury at Home?
In 2011 the Administrative Appeals Tribunal decided in favour of a worker who was injured while working in her own home. In the matter of Hargreaves and Telstra Corporation Limited  AATA 417 (17 June 2011) the worker was injured when she fell down the stairs at her home while she was working for Telstra. At the time of each fall she was logged into Telstra’s computer system and had gotten up from her workstation for a short break, like taking a tea break in an office environment. In this case, the worker was entitled to make a claim for workers’ compensation for the injuries that she sustained at work.
What Responsibilities Does an Employee Have When Working from Home?
Employees also must take reasonable care when working from home and will not always be entitled to compensation if injured whilst working from home. As the employee, if you have any concerns about your work environment at home, you need to raise this with your employer who can assist in arranging a safer workspace.
If you have been injured at work or during the course of your employment, you should contact GC Law for FREE advice about your workers’ compensation entitlements.